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Johanna Thoma
London School of Economics
  1.  38
    Instrumental Rationality Without Separability.Johanna Thoma - 2018 - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    This paper argues that instrumental rationality is more permissive than expected utility theory. The most compelling instrumentalist argument in favour of separability, its core requirement, is that agents with non-separable preferences end up badly off by their own lights in some dynamic choice problems. I argue that once we focus on the question of whether agents' attitudes to uncertain prospects help define their ends in their own right, or instead only assign instrumental value in virtue of the outcomes they may (...)
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  2.  58
    Risk Aversion and the Long Run.Johanna Thoma - forthcoming - Ethics.
    This paper argues that Lara Buchak’s risk-weighted expected utility theory fails to offer a true alternative to expected utility theory. Under commonly held assumptions about dynamic choice and the framing of decision problems, rational agents are guided by their attitudes to temporally extended courses of action. If so, REU theory makes approximately the same recommendations as expected utility theory. Being more permissive about dynamic choice or framing, however, undermines the theory’s claim to capturing a steady choice disposition in the face (...)
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  3.  37
    Temptation and Preference-Based Instrumental Rationality.Johanna Thoma - forthcoming - In José Bermudez (ed.), Self-control, decision theory and rationality. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press.
    In the dynamic choice literature, temptations are usually understood as temporary shifts in an agent’s preferences. What has been puzzling about these cases is that, on the one hand, an agent seems to do better by her own lights if she does not give into the temptation, and does so without engaging in costly commitment strategies. This seems to indicate that it is instrumentally irrational for her to give into temptation. On the other hand, resisting temptation also requires her to (...)
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  4.  23
    Advice for the Steady: Decision Theory and the Requirements of Instrumental Rationality.Johanna Thoma - 2017 - Dissertation,
    Standard decision theory, or rational choice theory, is often interpreted to be a theory of instrumental rationality. This dissertation argues, however, that the core requirements of orthodox decision theory cannot be defended as general requirements of instrumental rationality. Instead, I argue that these requirements can only be instrumentally justified to agents who have a desire to have choice dispositions that are stable over time and across different choice contexts. Past attempts at making instrumentalist arguments for the core requirements of decision (...)
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